PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) — A Limestone Community High School teacher was found not guilty of assaulting a student in 2017.
Alexandra Menefee, now 19, said teacher William Wood touched her inappropriately on Jan. 5, 2017. She said she was standing between a table and whiteboard when Wood, a social science teacher, tried to squeeze past her. She claimed she pushed the table forward to avoid touching him, but felt uncomfortable.
She claimed Wood then stood behind her and she felt a “firm grasp on her backside,” which she believed was intentional. She said she told her choir teacher and the school principal on the same day of the incident, but a report wasn’t filed until later.
That choir teacher who took the stand broke into tears when describing how Menefee changed after the alleged event, stating it was like she had a cloud over her head.
Menefee’s family hired an attorney to sue in February 2018. She later requested an order of protection from the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office when Wood in August of 2018 allegedly began asking a fellow classmate, who also took the stand Tuesday, about her whereabouts and talking about the alleged incident, which led to investigation by the state’s attorney’s office.
The defense pointed to what they called inconsistencies in the stories of the students leading to confusion and doubt.
The defense questioned a special education teacher who was in the room the day Menefee said Wood touched her behind. The teacher testified that nothing out of the ordinary occurred and that she would have been able to see what Menefee described.
It took a jury about 30 minutes to find Wood not guilty on one felony count of aggravated battery. Wood has been on paid administrative leave from Limestone Community High School since charges were first filed last November.
Menefee is still pursuing a civil lawsuit suing the superintendent, principal, and William Wood at Limestone.
Menefee has said she first reported the incident to her principal the day it happened… filing that suit in 2018 after she said the school did nothing.